“Once Iraq came around my old National Guard unit got called up and got this 18-month rotation. They were citizen soldiers; they were much older than the regular army guys. I was shocked that the army pulled these guys out of their regular lives to send them to Iraq.”
The public generally doesn’t want to hear about the situation faced by the reservists -- how they become handy fall guys, a standing line between the public and the draft -- because the public realizes they are not participating in the sacrifices others are making in their name, and which they probably have a lot of mixed feelings about to begin with.
“It’s amazing how well the military has held together,” says Connors. “Iraq was probably worse than Vietnam in terms of a no-win situation. Yet somehow it still feels like a fairly professional fighting force that does a pretty solid job given what they’ve been handed.”
Quinn, who plays the get the job done Colonel, agrees.
“I loved the script and the moral dilemma they were facing. I loved the fact that it dealt with reservists from the National Guard being sent back over there again and again, in tour after tour,” he tells the Irish Voice.
“A lot of these people were thinking they’d just get college money without seeing that kind of conflict. They thought they’d be weekend warriors. It’s kind of unprecedented that they were used to this extent.”
Quinn signed on because he liked the character he’d been asked to play. “His decision is to send the medic with the dying son to Iraq because that would be the best protection for his men. It’s nothing personal,” he says.
But Quinn is so believable in the role that I ask him if his family has any military members to consult with?
“Far from it,” he laughs, “It was just the basis of the writing. I understood his point of view and the moral dilemmas it brings up for people of privilege. Officer’s sons fare a little differently. It’s kind of an unspoken thing that goes on. Our wars are primarily fought by people with less opportunity and less financial background.”
In Ireland we call them the working class. Quinn laughs again.
“Exactly. We get them to fight our battles. Bu Allegiance isn’t some bleeding heart liberal’s view,” he points out.
“It’s written from the inside by the writer/director who has real experience of the life. It’s an eye opening exploration of the men we send off to war and some of the moral dilemmas that go with that.”
Bolstering his Irish credentials, Connors adds that his father grew up in Flushing, Queens and his own memories of St. Patrick’s Day involve the mandatory showing of The Quiet Man.
“It’s how we learned about our heritage,” he laughs. “To this day John Ford is in my top five directors of all time!”
Allegiance will be released January 15.
Check out the trailer here: